Amy Ward Brimmer

mother daughter wife teacher writer dreamer sister worker seeker activist minister healer student human


No Comparison

I posted this on my Facebook page today, and it surprised me because I wasn't intending to write anything like what emerged.  Christmas surprise Number One.
Wishing you all many lovely surprises of the season.

As I consider the many many items on my To Do list this a.m., I notice my habit of comparing. What others have accomplished (cookie baking! presents all bought and wrapped!) and what I have accomplished in years past -- thinking about this stresses me out. So why compare what is to what was, or what other realities may exist?

Because let's face it, this is kind of a weird Christmas. The girls are mostly grown up, so no special Santa-related surprises. No staying up super late to be elves and put something together on Santa's behalf. It's raining and 60 degrees. We are not going to A Christmas Carol at the McCarter for the first time in a decade. David has multiple health issues. Caitlin won't arrive until this afternoon. The stockings aren't hung, I haven't wrapped a single gift, there are cookies to bake and cleaning to be done, and we don't even know where we'll be dining this evening...
I'm just not ready for the birth of Jesus.
I wonder if this is how Mary felt. (I'm comparing again, I know.) How inconvenient to have to travel so close to your due date. How unprepared was Mary for labor and delivery in some cave stable, with no blankets or midwives or hot water?
Jesus didn't care. "Ready or not, here I come!" he warned, and out he came. Babies do that, they like to surprise us. Birth is never quite what one expects, which is ironic since we spend 9 months being called "expectant."
So Advent is over and the season of preparation has come to an end. But my home life has not caught up to that fact, so this morning here I sit, sipping coffee and assessing the chaos and wondering how important it truly is to accomplish the items on my To Do list.
Not important really, since no matter what, that child -- the holy, enlightened, pure and radiant being -- will get born. Maybe if I remember that today and stay awake to my life, I will notice and embrace that fact. Maybe I can even embody it.
And for that there's no comparison.


Mindful Interdependence: A Holiday Gift for All

     The holidays bring with them the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. While our relations can be a source of comfort and joy at this time of year, many people experience the stress of potential conflict and unpleasant encounters with relatives they might not be so thrilled to spend time with, but who cannot be avoided.
     Understanding the necessity of being in relationship with others can go a long way towards easing that stress. If you've been meditating and marking your "progress" on an individual basis, you might want to notice how mindful and compassionate you are when you're around other people.  This blog post by Rev. Patti Nakai reminds us that enlightened growth does not happen in isolation, but depends on the connections among and between each of us.  My awakening is intimately bound up in yours.    
     If you can muster some gratitude for your obnoxious cousin or overbearing in-laws, you might get a glimpse of how we're all in this together. Enjoy reading The Tie That Need Not Bind. The amazing photos alone are worth a look.